Two Photos, Two Very Different Life Paths

Photos of two baby girls in the arms of their adoring new adoptive mothers. The pictures tell the story of two new families created in Jiangxi province in the mid 1990s when they each received a six month old daughter. Vivian, the baby on the left, departed from China soon after this photo was taken to grow up in Toronto, Canada. Shumin on the right, remained in China and is growing up in Ruichang village in Jiangxi province. Their families, their cultures, everything about them couldn’t be more different now. But fifteen years ago, fate started in the same province, in the same life situation.

Vivian and Shumin are among the tens, possibly hundreds of thousands of girls abandoned across China each year since China’s One Child population control policy was enacted in 1979. Two personal stories and two families created by the policy’s unintended side effects. How will the girls‘ lives weave back together? We’re piecing that together in the edit suite right now. But for the moment, we couldn’t help but be struck by how similar the girls‘ first photos are… and how different their fates will likely be.

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